2021 Media Kit

Supply chain disruption, adds to ASEAN's food security challenges

Food supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19 may lead to increased food security challenges in the ASEAN region, a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) revealed. Called “Maintaining food resilience in a time of uncertainty”, the study was commissioned by the Food Industry Asia (FIA), a regional association representing Asia’s F&B industry.
With ASEAN countries already facing food security challenges due to rapid urbanisation and the growth of consuming classes, COVID-19 will likely exacerbate the region’s food security challenges in the short term, findings show. Thus, collaborative and concerted efforts are required between the food industry and governments to keep supply chains open and minimise disruption of food manufacturing and distribution to ensure the food security of ASEAN communities.
The report also recommends recognising the essential role of food supply chains. To minimise the impact of COVID-19 on food security in the ASEAN region, governments need to provide protection to the food industry labour force. They also have to ensure borders remain open and financial assistance be provided to the most vulnerable businesses and consumers.
"During a lockdown, if governments across the region put in place policies that hinder production across supply chains as well as trade barriers, this could lead to regional food shortages," said Matt Kovac, executive director FIA. This is especially true when looking across the world and seeing the continued but unnecessary panic buying behaviour of people in these situations, he added.
With the food industry not only providing essential nutrition to ASEAN populations but also driving a large share of economic output and employment, the sector continues to be of enormous importance to both the health and economic wellbeing of the region. According to the report, the food value chain contributes around US$500 billion worth of economic output to the sector, which is around 17% of ASEAN's total GDP. Additionally, the industry accounts for approximately 113 million jobs in ASEAN, or 34% of the entire labour force, the report said.
"Our discussions with major global food companies suggest that labour restrictions and supply disruption for inputs are the key challenges that the sector is currently facing in ASEAN,” said Richard Skinner, Asia Pacific Deals Strategy & Operations Leader, PwC Singapore.
Supply chains remain open with supermarket shelves generally well-stocked. This suggests that many of the measures put in place by governments and businesses are working well, for now, he added.
“Nevertheless, as the situation develops, it will be necessary for stakeholders to broaden and strengthen mitigations, to ensure the region's food system continues to function effectively,” Skinner concluded. (Image from Pixabay)

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